Detect Cancer Early Programme

Bowel screening

All men and women aged 50–74 are invited for bowel screening. Bowel screening involves taking a simple test at home every two years.
Bowel screening has recently been the subject of an advertising campaign across Scotland as part of the Detect Cancer Early programme.
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland. Every year in Scotland, almost 4,000 people are diagnosed with the disease.
Although bowel cancer is common, it is also highly treatable if detected early. If we find bowel cancer early enough, there’s more than a 90% chance of successful treatment. The sooner it’s caught, the easier it is to treat.
Testing aims to find bowel cancer at an early stage – even if you’ve had no symptoms/feel fine.
The test can find other changes in your bowel, such as non-cancerous growths called ‘polyps. Most of these can be removed easily, and this can prevent cancer from developing.

Over 75

From April 2013, if you’re 75 or over you can still take a bowel screening test every two years if you want to. We won’t automatically send you a test kit every two years though, so you’ll need to ask us for one.

You can find out more information on:

  • risks and benefits of bowel screening
  • taking the bowel screening test 
  • your bowel screening test results 
  • lifestyle advice

It’s still free – to find out more call the Bowel Screening Centre Helpline on
0800 0121 833 (text phone 180010800 0121 833).
Or Visit the website:

Last Reviewed: 19/12/2013